Iowa Republican: Barton was right to say BP suffered 'shakedown' at White House

One Republican lawmaker said Monday he agreed with Rep. Joe Barton's (R-Texas) apology to BP.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said he thought Barton was right to call the Obama administration's effort to force BP to create a $20 billion escrow account to pay out claims to victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill a "shakedown."

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"I think Joe Barton was spot-on when he called it a 'shakedown.' That's part of this administration's process," King said Monday on the conservative Laura Ingraham radio show.

"If you look at all they have nationalized during this administration — some started during the Bush administration — it should tell you, they want to swallow up as many Fortune 500 companies as they can," he said.

Democrats seized on the comments last Thursday by Barton, the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in a hearing with BP's CEO, Tony Hayward. The White House and many other Democrats have sought to cast Barton's remarks as representative of the GOP as a whole.

Other Republicans have been much more critical of Barton's remarks.

"I couldn't disagree with Joe Barton more," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Sunday.

Two House Republican lawmakers have called on Barton to step down from his plum committee position, and members of the House GOP leadership threatened to strip Barton of that position if the Texas Republican did not apologize.

King lashed out at his party's leadership for that pressure and said he blamed staff for the leaks.

"I think the leverage brought on Joe Barton by, I'll say, the conference was unjust. I think he should've been able to stand there and let his remarks stand and make his own decisions," the Iowa conservative said. "And the things that leaked out from the staff, I think should cause real discussion within our own conference, and I believe it will."



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